Jose Gomes’ Reading travelled the short distance to Wycombe Wanderers in the first round of the Carabao Cup, a match that would end with a penalty shoot-out win for the Royals. He’d made six changes going into the game, including a debut for goalkeeper Rafael, before the full-time score finished 1-1 with George Puscas scoring his first goal.
With the score a draw at the end of normal time, we went straight into a penalty shootout with the Royals going through, winning 4-2 on penalties and Rafael becoming an instant hero, saving two penalties.
It’s fair to say Gomes was very happy with his goalkeeper after the game. Here’s what he said to GetReading...
Gomes on the result
“It’s always better if you solve the problem during the 90 minutes because penalties are always emotional and anything can happen. We can’t do anything, you can’t manage them and just have to wait for the goalkeeper to make a save and the players to score.
”We started the game very well and created some nice chances to score, but we didn’t score. In the end they scored at a corner and everything could happen afterwards.
“We changed our formation and Puscas scored. We came back into the game. We used the game to test some things - testing in official games is always a risk but I don’t have any more friendlies and I have a lot of players.
”I think we did well to try these things because we will need to protect ourselves in a lot of games defensively and give the freedom to our players to play offensively.”
Gomes on the performances of Puscas and Rafael
“It was a good game for Puscas because he started for the first time and he scored. And Danny Loader played a very good game, even though he only played for 10 minutes. He scored the last penalty because the fifth was for Pele, but Rafael gave the chance to Loader to finish the game.
”Rafael guessed every penalty apart from the first one. It was a moment where he conquered our fans behind the goal. It was a special game for them for sure.”
Gomes on selection dilemmas
“All the players want to play and that’s a good sign. Now I have very good problems. After they see the line up some players feel something bad but now it’s a good sign I have options.
”We have a long season in front of us. All the players will have chances to play but I must take decisions. This is not a problem. It’s a very good thing.”
Gomes on the penalty shootout
“It’s not really football, it’s just a kick! Some people who don’t like football like penalties, and vice versa. But penalties emotional and it was a good moment in front of our fans.”
Next up for the Royals in the second round of the Carabao Cup is a trip to Plymouth at the end of August. You can read more about the draw here.